Sunday, September 13, 2009

Queenly Chocolateness

This photo is from a while back when HRH THE Sweet Potato Queen her very own self Jill Connor Browne came to the Regulator Bookshop in Durham to promote her book about the joys of motherhood- The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit. If you have never heard of The Sweet Potato Queens you need to educate yourself. Our friend Jill L. initiated us into the cult when the first book, The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love, appeared back in 1999. Ten years of SPQ wit and wisdom.
Anyway, I don't have long for this post (Some of you are probably relieved, I know. I have chicken and potatoes covered with some herbes de provence, rosemary, olive oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper cooking away in the oven and making my house smell heavenly.) The younger son informed me a few minutes ago that he is starving. And, since it is Sunday evening, I have a whole lot of stuff to do to get ready for the school week-- lessons to plan, homework to post on Moodle, papers to grade, etc.
Martha and I went to the Wine Authorities to celebrate the sale of her first house yesterday. Seth was filling us in on the imminent birth of his second child. We were mightily commiserating with his wife, even though she was not there. We do remember the final few days of a pregnancy. We told him that he needed to make her some Chocolate Stuff, a SPQ tried and true recipe. He went on-line and found the recipe and I hear that he made it for her last night. HRH Jill would be quite proud!
This stuff is so good-- go ahead and make it for yourself and see if you don't agree.

Chocolate Stuff
(I will now quote The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love pp. 170-171 since I have it open to the chocolate-stained pages that contain the recipe...)

Here's the deal: Beat two eggs with a cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of flour. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt. In the microwave melt together one stick of real butter (I never use unsalted; I think it tastes flat) and two fairly heaping tablespoons of Hershey's cocoa. Get regular Hershey's in the dark brown box- anything else is different and will screw it up. Dump the butter-cocoa mixture into the other things, and stir it up good. Then add a running-over teaspoon of vanilla. I use real vanilla, but the grocery store kind won't ruin it. Stir that up, too. If you decide to go for nuts, use a whole bunch of pecans, chopped up fine.
Pour the Stuff into a greased loaf pan, set the loaf pan in a pan of water, and stick the whole business in the oven at about 300 degrees. Depending on how your oven cooks, it needs to stay in there for 40 to 50 minutes. You can reach in there and tap on the top of it at 40 minutes. If it seems crunchy, I'd take it out. You can't really undercook it, since it's good raw, but you don't want to overcook it and lose the gooey bottom so crucial to the whole texture experience.

If after reading this and trying Chocolate Stuff you would like to know more about the SPQ, check them out on-line at There are more recipes, too.

Bon appétit!

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